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Telsa alleges theft of intellectual property

January 26, 2017

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty

From the article by Jordan Golson over at Verge:

The complaint, filed in California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, alleges that Anderson attempted to recruit at least 12 Tesla engineers to a new self-driving venture that he and Urmson were starting, in violation of Anderson’s non-solicitation agreement, and that Anderson took confidential Tesla information and “destroy[ed] evidence in an effort to cover his tracks.”

Aurora denied all the allegations in a statement.

Tesla is alleging that Urmson and Aurora Innovation “knew of” and “intended to cause Anderson to breach his agreements with Tesla,” as well as to “[interfere] with prospective economic advantage” between Tesla and its employees.

Tesla alleges that Anderson transferred hundreds of gigabytes of “Tesla confidential and proprietary information” to his personal hard drives, and failed to return that information when he left the company, in violation of his contract. It also says he altered the timestamps on files on his company-issued laptop and erased others, “all in an attempt to conceal his misdeeds.”

I’ve worked on a number of lawsuits like this, almost all following this pattern: one or more key employees leave Company A and join or start up Company B. Company A alleges misappropriation of intellectual property, sometimes in the form of actual files and documents, other times based on just what’s in their heads.

Sounds as though discovery on this case should be interesting.


About the Author:

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at

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